White House Promises New VA OIG Head

53
2172
Advertisement
Get the Voc Rehab Guide

VA OIG Head

Benjamin KrauseLast week, the White House promised to appoint a new VA OIG head for the beleaguered oversight arm responsible for keeping Department of Veterans Affairs honest.

The previous acting Inspector General Richard Griffin retired on July 4, 2015. Before him, George Opfer retired in 2013. However, the OIG has been without a formally selected leader for some years. Perhaps those responsible for selecting a formal replacement were unable to find a person willing to take on rampant agency fraud revealed in 2014 with the wait list scandal, opioid scandal, and numerous other scandals.

Currently, Assistant Inspector for Audits Linda Halliday is appointed to lead VA OIG until a replacement is found. I used to be a fan of Halliday until I saw her strategically nodding during the September VA OIG whitewash hearing of Phoenix VA. An inquiry into OIG revealed Sloan Gibson asked VA OIG head Richard Griffin to use deceptive language to make it seem like nothing illegal occurred at Phoenix VA. Shame on them all.

According to Military Times, the White House statement for a new OIG head reads as follows:

“This administration has been committed to strong Inspectors General,” a White House statement read. “The administration also believes strongly in transparency and accountability in government, and inspectors general play a critical role in furthering those objectives.”

Two weeks ago, whistleblower Ryan Honl called out President Barack Obama for failing to appoint a leader to the helm of VA OIG. When Honl asked the President to select someone from outside VA, the President stated such a selection would violate current law.

Let’s assume VA OIG can redeem itself somehow under the right leadership. What series of events would it take to redeem its credibility? Can VA OIG become the “watchdog” it purports to be?

Source: https://www.militarytimes.com/story/veterans/2015/07/10/va-ig-white-house/29958679/

Stay informed on VA news, scandals and benefits. Get our daily newsletter via email.

17343

DisabledVeterans.org

Get our free daily newsletter.

53 Comments

  1. Sometimes you really have to hit bottom before help arrives. Evan though you are broke and pissed, you still have a roof. I can see the bottom and it is going to hit soon. Till then, we wait and when we get tired we wait some more. Then we will find the leader to expose and lead us to Victory. This is a War.

    • Larry, there a thousands of Veterans and taxpayers out there, in this “Good Ol’ U S of A” who don’t have a “roof over their head”. And, it’s all due to this, and previous, administrations, (Democrats, Republicans and anyone else in political power.) They truly don’t give a damn about anyone but themselves…..they have proven this time and time again!
      The homeless ones my heart goes out to the most are the ones who have children. All this while our government is giving LARGE SUMS of taxpayers’ money to countries;
      Which are our enemies. Who are not following the laws of nature (basic human rights).
      Who are burning our flag, and saying negative epitaphs about our country. Who don’t want our Military to protect and serve those who cannot protect and serve those citizens in their own country.
      There’s more, only you get the picture.

      • Sir,
        It seems that my enemies are your enemies. I can see the war happening in our great nation. We need a leader that does not bow down to Bal’l. We fought and will continue to fight for our nation. It is time that the concerned citizens realize that if we allow these atrotrocies to continue, we ourselves will be the enemy. We, the People of the United States, are guilty of negligence. We can all read our history and see our fellow warriors being treated inhumanely by a foreigner. Now we can read and see daily the mistreatment done to us by our own government. How is it that we tolerate this Demon. How can we fight what has hidden among us. We need a leader who will commit his life. Give his life. Not expect to be liked. Go against the grain. Tell the truth and be willing to fight for ” Truth in Government “. Without someone of this caliber, things are going to continue as they are and we will keep complaining.

  2. I don’t look for anything to change no matter whom they select to run the VAOIG. The VAOIG is nothing but a big joke as far as I’m concerned. Getting them to investigate the VA is like going to a Mob Don and telling him to investigate the Mafia!

  3. That White House Statement was a BIG “Whitewash Statement” that neither answered the question and left the reader just WHAT IS THE “current law”? Does the LAW dictate that the “Fox MUST be Guarding Henhouse”? How exactly can the VA OIG be “OBJECTIVE” if they are of the same tripe and lamprey from within a dysfunctional VA “crony system”?
    Ben, WHAT EXACTLY does “the law dictate”? I am having a very hard time believing that the OIG cannot be and should not be appointed from outside the VA to keep them both ‘Objective and Honest’…sounds like an outright whitewashed LIE…if I am wrong and the LAW does for some reason only allow VA OIG to be appointed from WITHIN the same killers at the VA, THEN THE DAMN LAW NEEDS CHANGED…AND YESTERDAY!
    I am also stirred-up a bit about the apparent ‘head in the sand’ of VA Sec. McDonald and the VA must have removed his SPINE and replaced it with a CUTTING EDGE JELLY FISH SPINE, so he can continue to be as Ineffective AS POSSIBLE.

    On another note, a Veteran friend that has no choice at this dire time in his life but to use the VAMC in Indianapolis…well, he was just last week, along with other Veterans he talked to out in far parking lot “smoking area” that THREE OTHERS as well as my buddy were TOLD THEY WERE NOT ACCEPTING ANY **NEW PATIENTS** at this time and offered no alternatives, Sorry Out of Luck/SOL. How the HELL can the VA tell Veterans they cannot USE THEIR BENEFITS by simply stating NO NEW PATIENTS BEING ACCEPTED? This is only the Indy VA, but have read on here of this being reportedly happening in Florida and other State’s VAMC’s.

    Is this the NEW and IMPROVED way of not exactly establishing illegal long wait lists by simply turning Vets away from the start, not even allowing enrollment, thus, no “wait list”?

    When ANYONE from the VA OIG and anyone in upper Admn. of VA actually show some gonads and do the right thing for Veterans, honor and respect the VA Whistle Blowers, I am very hesitant to believe the smoke and mirrors and after reading today’s article, I completely LOSS *any* remaining respect and “wait and see” approach with SLOAN GIBSON…the man sounds like he came straight from Nazi Germany Era and he seems to be the Master of Plausible Deniability.
    I wonder if Sloan Gibson was the mastermind in complete deniability of any wrongdoing at the Tomah VA?
    Sorry, but I cannot rely on FAITH alone that the VA will “do the right thing” for Veterans, thus my patience in this ever-changing revolving door of “early retirements”, expecting me to be FOOLED AGAIN…well, a Classic song by ‘The Who’, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” as well as “Who Are You?”, comes to mind.

    • It’s true, vamc’s ARE turning away veterans. One vet actually “videotaped” his experience in Georgia. I believe it was around the Atlanta area.
      I would also like to know what “LAW” Obama is citing?! Seems to me it’s just more of the same crap veterans hear every day from this administration.
      Now, what can we veterans do which would cause the VA, VA OIG and other gov. entities to realize what they are doing IS going to come to a screeching halt? That their “MISSION in life IS to do right by VETERANS!
      Don’t forget the news article on WKMG Channel 6, (local station), here in Central Florida tonight at 11 pm. I gave the phone number and address yesterday. It will, more than likely, be on their “website” shortly after airing, or early tomorrow morning. From the commercial, it may be called “Who’s doing it!”

  4. “Whitehouse Promises VA OIG Change”

    THAT could easily REALLY MEAN the VA OIG will be purchasing $1 Million in a “CHANGE OF FURNITURE at the VA OIG”…or like Michelle Obama reportedly recently did, in little more than only ONE YEAR LEFT As *this* Presidential Family, spent OUTRAGEOUS amount of $$$$ to “redecorate Whitehouse”…meanwhile our Gov’t. is supposedly under the auspices of Budget Sequester and same day was announced ONLY the ARMY’s REDUCTION IN MANPOWER of at least 40,000 souls…that’s ONLY the Army’s reduction number, no other Branches announced specifics as of yet.
    Cut the Army Manpower at a time of active State of War is the most idiotic thing and it seems our leaders are using the great read, “The Art Of War” as bathroom tissue. So reduce manpower but at same time spend outrageous $$$$ on redecorating of the Whitehouse when I am CERTAIN that whomever gets the votes of the 2016 Presidential Election will have as much of a job ahead of them yet again redecorating the WH from whatever the Obama Family has done to it, as what the Reagans had to do after what the Pres. Jimmy Carter Family did as far as decorating…the priorities seem incredibly skewed.
    What I was trying to convey is it’s ALL in the verbiage and semantics of these released statements. What exactly does it mean that the “Whitehouse Promises VA OIG Change”?
    Nothing in that statement *qualified* exactly what that *change* actually means and entails that will benefit veterans?
    I have learned with Bureaucrats, Politicians, and ANYONE from the VA, to listen and read exactly WHAT THEY ARE *NOT* SAYING. They are sorely mistaken if they think Veterans are too daft to be able to read between the piles of crap…it smells like crap between the piles of released crap, all crap, all the same. Prove me wrong, please!

    • Namnibor, she spent $600,000 on redecorating a dining room.
      From what I have read, Obama is lowering the Army by 40,000+ troops and 17,000 civilian workers. And like you’ve said, all this at a time when the U.S. is in a state of war! How much weaker is he going to make us be? Also, the top brass of the Military is keeping VERY QUIET over this issue. No one is speaking out. Huh oh well, guess we’re going to lose another one!
      Your analogy is right on, Obama will put a “fox to guard the hen house!” And I personally do not see any change coming our way.

      • Oh, and let us not forget the money wasted to “Light up” the White House in the “Rainbow Colors”. So he/she could impress a “Special Group”! I wonder how much that cost?
        Or how about the ‘trip’ Michelle and kids just took to England. To visit with the Royal Family!
        Oh, then there are the MANY trips they took to Disney!
        The list goes on and on. All at the expense of the taxpayers.

      • I was just informed, Michelle and kids took off to Europe the day after the Charleston, S.C. incident. They “did a 3 week tour”! They only spent 3 days with the “Royal Family”!
        They returned in time to go to Charleston to pay homage to the “Fallen”! How’s that for compassion for the families which were murdered?
        A three week tour of Europe ain’t cheap. How much did that cost taxpayers????

  5. Ben, you asked “What can they do?” How about for starters, arresting the 3 people at the Tomah, Wisconsin VAMC on “Charges of running a pill mill!”
    I do believe many on here, including you, have seen the MANY news articles concerning what has happened here in Florida over the past few years. Many were arrested, tried and convicted.
    Secondly, instead of allowing anyone to be put on an administrational leave with pay. They receive NO PAY until the investigation is completed. Also, if they are found to be guilty, they must pay back all monies received as bonuses, prior to going to prison. All their assets would be frozen. Houses, cars and any other properties would be confiscated and auctioned off.
    There are so many more things which could be done. It would be the size of a Sunday paper…

  6. As far as contacting anyone in the “political arena”, I have found that to be a huge waste of time. They give back the same rhetoric as this administration, or they don’t respond. Imo, it’s a waste of time trying to get them to do anything.
    That being said, what would be our other options? Anyone please!?

  7. I have been commenting about this for several years, a couple of times here on this blog, and on other veteran sites. I wrote my Senators, (both of them) and my Congressman and never got a reply as to why we couldn’t have a Presidentially appointed VAOIG.

    Now, as a lame duck, Obama said he will appoint one. Well, golly gee, by the time one is appointed and confirmed – even under the best case scenario – the appointee will be in office for less than 16 months before a new administration comes into power. Since he/she will resign (as do all appointees) at the changing of the guard, why would anyone take the job in the first place? But, if someone does, with taking the first month and a half trying to find his/her office, then a couple of months more learning the lay of the land, what do you think will be accomplished? Allow me to give the answer, NOTHING!

  8. “The warped thinking at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is perfectly illustrated in two recent stories about its spending habits. Late last month the VA claimed the department faces a nearly $3 billion shortfall for this fiscal year, potentially forcing them to furlough employees, freeze hiring and deny care to veterans. Yet just a few weeks earlier, a department whistleblower detailed how financial mismanagement at the VA squanders at least $6 billion per year, violating government contracting rules and undermining the department’s purported mission of service to veterans. The contrast between these reports illustrates perfectly the vast gulf between the priorities of the VA bureaucracy and those of the rest of the country. While many businesses and families try to “do more with less” since the Great Recession, the VA has perfected the art of “doing less with more.” But the only solution the VA advocates to address its well-documented problems is more money. Don’t take the bait—it’s past time to hold the VA responsible for its failures, and that starts with no longer enabling the VA’s reckless spending. It’s important to recognize how rapidly VA funding has increased in recent years. Since 2009 alone, the VA budget has grown by over 65 percent, from $98 billion to $165 billion. Meanwhile, in the last year, Congress allocated an additional $21 billion to the department in the wake of the VA wait list scandal. To be clear, part of the VA’s budget growth under the last two administrations can justified—but much of it can’t. The overall veteran population is aging and new veterans are entering the system. Funding and personnel followed in an effort to meet the needs of those veterans, but the spending and personnel increases far outpaced the increase in demand.”

    VA supervisor took $1.2 million in kickbacks, prosecutors say (The Washington Post)
    A case of criminal activity at the Department of Veterans Affairs involves kickbacks. In a case out of New Jersey, a former supervisory engineer at a Veterans Affairs facility in East Orange, N.J. is headed to prison for 46 months for accepting more than $1.2 million in kickbacks from contractors, and for falsely claiming one of the companies was owned by a service-disabled veteran, according to federal prosecutors. Jarod Machinga, 45, of Hopewell, N.J. partnered with a person identified in court documents as “Individual 1” to set up three companies that could be used to obtain VA work. He then directed more than $6 million worth of construction projects to those companies. Machinga admitted that he accepted $1,277,205 in kickbacks in exchange for his official action and influence between 2007 and July 2012. According to court documents and his statements at his June 30 sentencing in federal court in Trenton, N.J., Machinga also admitted that for many of the projects awarded to Individual 1’s companies, he recruited other contractors to perform the work so the companies were able to keep the money paid to them without having to incur the expense of actually completing the projects, authorities said. The company Machinga misrepresented as service-disabled and veteran-owned received more than $3 million from VA related to the contract, authorities said.

    Veterans used in secret tests make progress in court (Military Times)
    Veterans used as test subjects for chemical and biological tests during the Cold War won a small victory in court recently when appellate judges ruled the Army must keep them apprised of developments related to their health. In its June 30 decision, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals also said the Army, not the Veterans Affairs Department, should provide medical care to those vets. The ruling came on a class-action lawsuit filed by Vietnam Veterans of America, Swords to Plowshares and individual veterans over medical care for troops who participated in research programs at Edgewood Arsenal and Fort Detrick, Maryland, from the early 1950s through the mid-1970s. The judges ruled the Army is obligated to provide the vets updated information on issues pertaining to their health. They also rejected a district court’s earlier argument that even though the Army should have furnished medical care for the veterans under its own regulations, it didn’t have to to because the VA provides care to some of the affected personnel. The judges sent the case back to the Northern California District Court Judge Claudia Wilken to reconsider. “The district court could not … categorically deny injunctive relief to former volunteer subjects seeking necessary medical care because some former subjects may be entitled to receive medical care from another government agency,” the judges wrote. Nearly 7,000 troops took part in chemical research programs at Edgewood from 1950 to 1975 and in biological research at Fort Detrick from 1946 to 1977, testing substances such as mescaline, ketamine, LSD, and nerve agents like sarin.

    White House promises action on VA inspector general (Military Times)
    White House officials say they do plan to fill the vacant inspector general post in the Veterans Affairs Department, promising that the Obama administration is committed to strong oversight of every federal agency. The VA’s watchdog office has been without a permanent leader for more than 18 months, after former Inspector General George Opfer retired from the job. Last month, Acting Inspector General Richard Griffin retired after 43 years of federal service. That move promoted Assistant Inspector for Audits Linda Halliday to deputy inspector general and the default head of the office. Just days before Griffin’s retirement, a group of senators petitioned Obama for a permanent replacement, citing the need for management stability and strong leadership in the office. Administration officials would not offer a public timeline for when a new inspector general would be nominated, but said work is underway. “This administration has been committed to strong Inspectors General,” a White House statement read. “The administration also believes strongly in transparency and accountability in government, and inspectors general play a critical role in furthering those objectives.” Officials offered no reasons for the lengthy delay in filling the post. Griffin and the VA inspector general office have come under fire in recent months from critics who say there is too close a relationship between IG investigators and VA officials. They’ve also been criticized over not doing enough to prevent the 2014 patient wait time scandals, as well as failing to uncover similar systemic problems that have made headlines in recent months.

    Plan in place to eliminate rats, bats at hospitals, VA says (Military Times)
    The Veterans Affairs Department hospitals in Florida and Kansas recently beset by bats, rats and other pests are quickly working to restore the affected areas within their facilities. The James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, Florida, recently established “a multidisciplinary enviro-team — consisting of safety, infection control, environmental management and other services — that responds if a potential safety or environmental risk is reported,” hospital spokeswoman Karen Collins said in an email to Military Times on Friday. The Haley hospital had “dead rats falling from the kitchen ceiling” last month in addition to cockroaches found on patients’ trays. Two months earlier, facilities management services “filled multiple buckets with roaches, dead rats and feces,” the Tampa Bay Times reported. “Being in a tropical, urban environment, we are keenly aware of the potential of, and continually monitor for, any pest control issues,” Collins said. “We have developed an aggressive and proactive plan to address it, including awarding a new five-year pest control contract focused on the canteen and food preparation areas.” In a separate incident, the Eastern Kansas VA Hospital in Leavenworth shut down its operating rooms Wednesday and postponed 16 surgeries until next week because of dead bats found in trash cans.

    Lawmakers, families question VA Legionnaires’ probe (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
    Federal lawmakers and families of victims of the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System in 2011 and 2012 say they have significant questions about a federal investigation that found few problems with the testing for Legionella bacteria in patients and water at the hospital. “It looks like they looked for the information they wanted, to get the results they wanted to get,” said Judy Nicklas, daughter-in-law of William Nicklas, 87, of Hampton, the last of six veterans who died after contracting Legionnaires’ at the hospital during the outbreak. Reps. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, and Keith Rothfus, R-Sewickley, as well as Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., all said they had problems with the way the VA Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation and believe it should have been more thorough. “If everything was done great, why did people die and people get sick?” Mr. Murphy said. “This looks like a very brief report that could have been written in a few minutes after a cursory review of a few records.” The outbreak in 2011 and 2012 led to at least 22 veterans contracting the water-borne Legionnaires’ disease. The report, released Tuesday by the inspector general, examined an allegation by a former Pittsburgh VA employee that there were delays in getting test results back on patients suspected of having Legionnaires’ disease that may have affected their treatment. The probe also looked into an allegation that VA employees had tried after the outbreak to manipulate tests on water by letting it run before testing it for Legionella, in the hope of getting more negative results. The report found little fault on the first allegation — saying only three of the 31 patient cases reviewed had delays in reporting the test results and that nothing delayed treatment — and none with the water-testing allegation. The Pittsburgh VA, which has been pilloried over the outbreak since it was revealed in November 2012, was pleased with the findings.

    New goal at VA: Treating the root causes of vets’ pain (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
    The backroom of the James Ballentine VFW Post #246 in Minneapolis’ Uptown neighborhood looks more appropriate for meat raffles and ladies’ auxiliary meetings than for medical treatments. But one night this spring, the post — just 7 miles from one of the country’s major Veterans Affairs medical centers — became the best refuge for veterans struggling to cope with the pain of injuries from their military service. Eight acupuncture chairs, four chiropractic chairs and three treatment beds were set up, awaiting vets who would soon be arriving. Alternative therapy — from acupuncture to yoga — is a key part of the VA’s new effort to reduce vets’ dependence on highly addictive pain medication. The Minneapolis Veterans Medical Center is helping lead the effort, with a first-in-the-nation chronic pain program that emphasizes education and other alternatives to drugs. But the free services offered by the Minneapolis VFW post are not authorized by the VA. They are an outgrowth of the frustration and anguish many vets feel about being ordered into a program that can serve only a fraction of those in need. The Minneapolis VA’s inpatient pain program, for example, has managed to graduate only 33 vets in the year that it has been operating. The VA says it’s adding more services. But as more vets find themselves cut off from prescription painkillers, the demands on the strapped VA system are bound to grow. While the VA says it is embracing alternative therapies, critics, including members of Congress, say the VA appears to want to keep the services under its own roof, where it can monitor treatment and control costs. The Minneapolis VA hired its first chiropractor in 2014 and was overwhelmed by the response, with more than 850 visits in less than five months. Because of the demand, 23 veterans have been allowed to make appointments with chiropractors outside the VA. The Minneapolis VA said it hopes to have its second chiropractor in place this summer. Dr. Carolyn Clancy, then the interim VA undersecretary of health, told a congressional committee in June that the VA is conducting research to identify predictors for veterans who abuse opioids and which veterans might respond best to nonnarcotic treatments. “We have some research going on in that area and we have a lot more to learn,” she said.

    L.A. area veterans facilities waste water during drought (Breitbart News)
    Veterans Affairs facilities in West Los Angeles and Loma Linda are apparently unconcerned about wasting water despite the state’s severe drought. CBS2 News discovered that the Veterans Affairs (VA) West Los Angeles Medical Center watered its lawn for over two hours with roughly a dozen sprinklers even though the Emergency Water Conservation Plan of the City of Los Angeles limits watering from those kinds of sprinklers to eight minutes per day, and bans watering between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. When investigative reporter David Goldstein showed up with his cameraman on June 2 and tried to set up cameras, Lina Satele of the VA Public Affairs Office claimed that she could confiscate the cameras because the site was federal property. She threatened, “Can you shut that off? Or I’m going to have to confiscate your cameras.” Goldstein responded, “No, you won’t.” The cameras recorded watering between 8:41 a.m. and 10:44 a.m., less than last October, when CBS2 found the site watered its lawn for almost six hours. Goldstein confronted VA grounds supervisor Willy Dye, asserting, “We had it two hours here – 120 minutes – and they recommend eight minutes?” Dye replied, “Well, what can I say?” When Goldstein continued, “But, you didn’t know? These are your men and women out here,” Dye fired back, “Okay, I’m going to stop the interview right now. We’re going ahead and stop the interview.” Satele intervened, saying to Goldstein, “I need you to stop.” She defended the watering by claiming it was needed to spruce up the lawn for the coming appearance of the VA secretary. When Goldstein asked, “The question is: Do you go by the guidelines of the local authority, which is DWP?” Satele said brusquely, “The interview is over.” In Loma Linda, a CBS2 viewer videotaped a broken sprinkler that released a torrent of water at the VA facility; CBS2 returned weeks later and saw the sprinkler was still gushing water.

    New surge is fueling memberships in military motorcycle clubs (Military Times)
    When Marine Sgt. Derek Schwartz was medically retired last year after 12 combat-soaked years of service, it wasn’t long before he found himself missing certain intangibles of military life — the family beyond blood, the kind of bonds built only around steel and speed. He was surprised to find it all on the back of a bike, surrounded by a new band of brothers who call themselves the Leathernecks MC. “I was amazed — it felt like family,” he says of the Marines-only motorcycle club. “Everyone just takes care of each other. It’s a brotherhood very similar to the one in the Marines. It’s one of the most therapeutic things I’ve experienced outside of active duty.” And, yeah, the steel and speed were pretty good, too. It’s a military tradition of sorts, running back more than six decades. In the wake of World War II, as a generation of troops returned home from combat, veterans across the country found a certain pleasure and purpose through a newly evolved piece of gear they’d become friendly with downrange: the motorcycle. New “motorcycle clubs” sprang up everywhere, filling the void of camaraderie and brotherhood — not to mention adrenaline and adventure — that many found themselves craving with the end of their military service. They called themselves “outlaws” — not because they were criminals but because they refused to be boxed in by the rules and regulations of the fledgling American Motorcycle Association. “Combat is where motorcycle outlaws come from,” says Don Charles Davis, who writes the Aging Rebel biker news blog from Los Angeles. “Clubs like the Boozefighters and the Outlaws were either invented or transformed by veterans on cheap Army surplus bikes.”

    Veterans and civilians are helping one another in former police station (The Los Angeles Times)
    Inside what was once the cavernous Escondido Police Department headquarters, former Marines and Navy SEALs are using military training techniques to teach civilians self-defense — a relationship that benefits both students and teachers, participants say. The newly opened training center — called the Warfighter Academy — is part indoor paintball facility, part mixed martial arts gym, and it offers civilians the chance to train in combat scenarios and other simulations, while helping veterans adjust to life after the military, co-owner Sonny Garcia said. “It takes the experience of these prior-service combat veterans and allows them to repurpose it — to get their mission back and get back into the fight by training civilians who are concerned about self-defense and home defense and taking care of their families,” Garcia said. The building at 700 W. Grand Ave. in Escondido had fallen into disrepair after being left vacant in 2010 when the Police Department moved to new digs. It took Garcia and partner Dave Maynard about six months to bring the place up to code. Homeless people had been living inside, and thieves had stripped 90% of the copper wiring from the building and destroyed its electrical system. It’s pretty bare bones now, but Garcia and the trainers say it’s perfect for what they are doing. One room has become an indoor paintball labyrinth with movable obstacles, around which clients engage in simulated gun battles, honing their reflexes and shooting skills. Another area — where the Police Department’s top brass once had offices — has been reconfigured to look like the interior of a small house with a bedroom, kitchen and family room. Students are taught how to defend themselves in scenarios involving home invaders.

    VA to harness data from 390,000 vets to understand chronic conditions (HIT Consultant)
    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is announcing four new studies that will use genetic and other data from VA’s Million Veteran Program (MVP) to answer key questions to better understand chronic conditions. MVP, which has enrolled more than 390,000 Veterans so far, has already become the nation’s largest database linking genetic, clinical, lifestyle and military exposure information. Part of a beta test for data access, the newly funded studies are among the first to use MVP data to delve into pressing questions on Veterans’ health. MVP-based studies on PTSD, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are already underway. The research would also specifically include the understudied African American and Hispanic Veteran populations, ties into the broader national Precision Medicine Initiative announced by President Obama earlier this year. The study will also establish new methods for securely linking MVP data with other sources of health information, including non-VA sources such as the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS). “There’s already been an impressive amount of data collected through MVP, and we’re continuing to engage more Veterans in the program and building its research infrastructure through studies like these,” said Dr. Timothy O’ Leary, VA’s chief research and development officer in a statement. The new studies include the following: cardiovascular risk factors; multi-substance use, pharmacogenomics of kidney disease, and metabolic conditions.

    VA employees in Philadelphia face discipline over claims delays (Military Times)
    As many as 11 employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs regional office in Philadelphia could face discipline over their handling of benefit claims. The VA’s inspector general had found this spring that Philadelphia staff neglected mail, altered claims dates and reviews and made $2.2 million in duplicate benefit payments as it tried to reduce backlogs. Investigators say more than 31,000 inquiries were delayed for an average of 10 months. The VA says Friday that eight employees have been notified about their proposed discipline while three others are expected to get such notices. The proposed discipline ranges from two-week suspensions to termination. The final decisions will be made after employees get a chance to respond. The VA’s inspector general has been investigating similar complaints at several other regional offices.

    Orlando launches ‘surge’ to find homeless veterans (Orlando Sentinel)
    When Andrae Bailey started the event being held at the Church on the Drive, the first person he wanted to introduce to the crowd was David Williams. As Bailey noted, Williams is a veteran who served this nation and defended the freedoms that all Americans hold dear. But there was another reason why Bailey wanted people to meet Williams — and hear his story. “David is a veteran,” Bailey said, “who was homeless.” Bailey, the CEO of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness, was at the church on Edgewater Drive to launch his Veteran “Surge” Training outreach initiative, a collaboration with the local Veteran’s Affairs and Homeless Services Network, designed to locate every homeless veteran in Central Florida. Williams, he told the audience, had only recently discovered the services available to homeless veterans. “He came to us a week ago, and he’s already been approved for housing, and he’s here today to volunteer to help other veterans,” Bailey said. Williams said he was glad to be doing it. “I’m proud to be an American. I’m more proud to be a veteran,” he said. Williams said he knows other homeless veterans who are like him, and didn’t know that help was out there. “I lived at a homeless shelter, but I’m always talking to vets who say they’re scarred by this and that. All you have to do is show up,” Williams said. The Veterans Surge is about just that, Bailey noted: going right out into the community to find the homeless, and let them know there is help available.

    VA secretary to Hawaii landlords: Pitch in to end vet homelessness (Honolulu Civil Beat)
    Hawaii still has a long way to go in curbing homelessness among veterans. While places like New Orleans have practically eliminated veteran homelessness as part of a five-year national goal set by President Barack Obama in 2010, Hawaii has yet to gain a firm foothold in finding homes for hundreds of veterans. At the end of June, there were 376 homeless veterans on Oahu, including 129 who were unsheltered, according to Scott Morishige, executive director of the homeless advocacy group PHOCUSED, which helps analyze the state’s Homeless Management Information System database. This is why Robert McDonald, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, is in Honolulu this week, lending his hands in Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s “Heroes Helping Heroes.” McDonald told about 70 area landlords and property managers gathered Thursday at Mission Memorial Auditorium that the state needs their help in doing its part to meet the national goal of housing all homeless veterans. “Eliminating homelessness in this country is a team sport,” McDonald said. “It can’t be done by the city alone. It can’t be done by the state alone. It can’t be done by the federal government alone. It can’t be done by the private sector alone. It’s got to be done by all of us working together.” It’s not that Hawaii hasn’t made some progress. According to PHOCUSED, 368 homeless veterans on Oahu were placed into permanent housing from Jan. 1 to May 31. But, to eliminate veteran homelessness altogether, 129 unsheltered homeless veterans, as well as 247 people who are now temporarily housed — at homeless shelters or elsewhere — will also have to be placed into permanent housing.

    VA official: South Hampton Roads veterans care center ‘high priority’ (Newport News Daily Press)
    A new veterans health-care center in South Hampton Roads has been described a regional need, but it is also on the radar of top Veterans Affairs officials in Washington. “This is a pretty high priority for me,” said Deputy VA Secretary Sloan D. Gibson after a Friday tour of the Hampton VA Medical Center. Gibson, a West Point graduate and former Army infantry officer, was with the VA only three months when then-Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned under fire in 2014. Gibson served as acting secretary as the agency weathered national criticism for long waiting lists. A one-time banker and former chief executive officer of the USO, he served as acting chief for three months until the hiring of current Secretary Robert McDonald. Gibson credited Hampton with reducing patient wait times that were among the nation’s worst in late 2014. But he said congressional support for a 155,000-square-foot health-care center in South Hampton Roads would go a long way toward continuing that momentum. The VA has requested funding for the center in its 2016 budget submission. Now it’s up to Congress. “We won’t know anything until Congress passes a budget,” he said.

    Couple guilty in VA embezzlement case (San Diego Union-Tribune)
    A San Diego federal jury on Friday convicted the founders of a film school for wounded veterans of defrauding the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs by embezzling funds intended for the training program, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Judith Paixao, 61, was found guilty of all charges, including conspiracy, theft, making false claims and mail fraud, prosecutors said. Her husband, Kevin Lombard, 64, was found guilty of conspiracy, theft and making false claims, but acquitted of a mail fraud charge. Jurors deliberated about three days following a four-week trial. From 2007 until 2009, the couple were directors of the tax-exempt Wounded Marine Careers Foundation, which was intended to train veterans injured in Iraq and Afghanistan for careers in filmmaking. Evidence presented during the trial showed they conspired to defraud the VA by submitting false claims for training and equipment they never provided, prosecutors said. They claimed to have donated more than $200,000 to start the foundation, which drew up to 80 San Diego veterans, but they ended up taking $400,000 from the foundation’s accounts during the two-year period, prosecutors said. Some of the money went to repay their expenses, but the jury found more than $100,000 of the nonprofit’s funds were used to fund the couple’s lifestyle, including a trip to Bermuda, family cell-phone bills and a New Year’s Day sailing trip in San Diego Bay, prosecutors said. Defense lawyers said the couple didn’t purposefully mishandle the nonprofit, but encountered many of the same financial troubles that other startup charities do. On the mail fraud count, Paixao was convicted of accepting thousands of dollars from the Bob Woodruff Foundation for one student who had left the program. The couple is set to be sentenced Oct. 19.

    Lawmakers concerned about suburban D.C. veterans clinic closure (The Washington Times)
    Maryland lawmakers are calling the closure of a Greenbelt outpatient clinic in September without a replacement plan “a step in the wrong direction.” In a letter sent Thursday, Rep. Steny Hoyer and Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski tell Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald that they are concerned that no suitable replacement has been found nearby. The lawmakers say they have been told that doctors and services will be transferred 16 miles away to Camp Springs and there is only a plan for an assessment of a replacement location. Without the clinic, which is at capacity, they say the number of exam rooms in the region drops from 16 to 13. They say this runs counter to Congress’ message to Veterans Affairs of reducing veterans’ barriers to care.

    MLB, Reds open Cincinnati veterans assistance center (Cincinnati.com)
    Several of the biggest names in Cincinnati, including Reds owner Bob Castellini, VA Secretary Bob McDonald and former Reds All-Star Jim O’Toole, gathered in West End Saturday afternoon to open the new CityLink Welcome Center for veterans. The center, which will help veterans successfully transition back into civilian life, will assist veterans in throughout the Tristate area. The new veterans section of the CityLink Center in Cincinnati was formally launched Saturday. “There is no other facility in the country like this one,” said Leonard Randolph, chairman for the Tristate Veterans Community Alliance. The veterans center was created by the Tristate Veterans Community Alliance in collaboration with Major League Baseball’s Welcome Back Veterans initiative and the Reds. “To be a part of this in our community is very, very meaningful to me,” Castellini said. “This is my favorite Legacy Project that Major League Baseball has endowed our city with.” It offers various resources including financial planning and job readiness preparation. The center also refers veterans and their families to other assistance services in the community. “I can’t say enough about my dear friend Bob Castellini,” said McDonald, former CEO of Procter & Gamble. “Cincinnati is leading the way in showing how it cares for its veterans.”

    Decades late, Bronze star and other medals awarded to WWII veteran (Stars & Stripes)
    A Front Royal, Va., World War II veteran has received a Bronze Star and other awards he earned more than 70 years ago. A ceremony was held Wednesday for 92-year-old Jack Rickel in Winchester, Va. Rickel was drafted by the Army in 1943 and rose to the rank of sergeant as part of allied efforts in Europe. Media outlets report Rickel’s unit declared him missing in action when he ended up behind enemy lines. He was recovering from shrapnel wounds at a hospital in Verdun, France, when the war ended in 1945. His military records were eventually lost in a fire.

    inShare

    Tags:biological testing, Bob McDonald, chemical exposure, chronic diseases, chronic pain, Congress, Department of Veterans Affairs, homeless veterans, honors and medals, Inspector General Report, Legionella, Legionnaires disease, Office of Inspector General, OIG, Philadelphia VA Regional Office, post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, Richard Griffin, Robert McDonald, Sloan Gibson, VA budget, VA hospitals and clinics, VA inspector general, VA whistleblowers, veteran homelessness, veterans

  9. Check this out …now 6 weeks to do anything and a warning that perhaps nothing gets done

    SUBJECT: PLEASE READ – IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR SUBMISSION

    We encourage you to read this message in its entirety because it contains answers to questions you may have about your submission. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (OIG) Hotline has received your submission. Please note that our Hotline is not staffed to support emergency responses. If your submission concerns a life-threatening emergency, please call 911 or your local VA police.

    WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? WILL I BE CONTACTED AGAIN BY THE OIG?
    Within the next 6 weeks your information will be carefully reviewed by our Hotline Staff and other OIG subject matter experts to determine the appropriate course of action. We will contact you again only if we open a case or need additional information; therefore this may be the only correspondence you receive from our office.

    Acceptance Criteria -The Hotline accepts tips or complaints that, on a select basis, result in reviews of:
    · VA-related criminal activity
    · Systematic patient safety issues
    · Gross mismanagement of waste of VA resources
    · Misconduct by senior VA officials

    We recommend that if you are having ongoing health care, disability claim, or business disputes with VA, continue working with the responsible Department office while waiting to see if the OIG will open a case on your complaint.

    CAN I CHECK THE STATUS OF MY SUBMISSION?
    We cannot provide status reports or information regarding the disposition of submissions that do not result in cases. However, complaints that do not result in formal cases may be used in planning future OIG inspections and audits, or, if not confidential, referred to VA officials for their information.

    IT HAS BEEN 6 WEEKS SINCE I SUBMITTED MY COMPLAINT AND I HAVE NOT HEARD BACK FROM THE OIG. WHY WASN’T MY COMPLAINT ACCEPTED? WHAT CAN I DO NOW?
    If we have not contacted you in 6 weeks, your complaint was not accepted for review because it does not meet one of the four criteria for acceptance or because another Government agency is better positioned to resolve the issue. Contact information for VA and other Government agencies that can help you is located on our website at https://www.va.gov/oig/hotline/faq.asp.

    The OIG does not investigate complaints that are unrelated to VA programs and operations or issues, such as those listed below, or those that are addressed in other legal or administrative forums:

    · Allegations of whistleblower retaliation (This is because the OIG cannot provide direct relief to complainants in contrast to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel which can. Further information is available at https://osc.gov/Pages/WhatWeDo.aspx or 1-800-872-2249.)
    · Claims for VA disability and pension benefits, and ratings, appeals, or home loan issues
    · Claims for VA education benefits
    · Tort claims or other legal issue/case/claims
    · Litigation matters
    · Employee grievances, unfair labor practices, union matters
    · Whistleblower disclosures not related to the VA
    · Discrimination and EEO complaints for VA employees, former VA employees, and applicants for VA positions
    · Discrimination and complaints related to the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
    · Personnel actions/adverse action appeals/MSPB matters
    · Disagreement with law or other political disputes

    Thank you for contacting the VA OIG Hotline.

    Reply, Reply All or

  10. My belief all VSO COMMANDERS SHOULD ASKED THEIR MEMBERS HOW THEIR THOUGHTS ABOUT HOW THEIR MEMBERS ESPESCIALLY THE ONES THAT IS DISABLED HOW THEY ARE TREATED BY THE VETERAN MEDICAL CENTER THEY USED FOR THEIR CARE.

    • I am sure everyone is getting excellent medical care. I am also sure Santa is real, and even more sure UFO’s just landed on the White House lawn. Seriously, the VA sucks and is a hopeless, useless, veteran-bashing, self-serving bureaucracy. And this is why I have just arrived in Brazil seeking medical care in my 100% service-connected disability status. I should be able to get health care at the VA, but the VA us so messed up that it became impossible long ago to get anything but harassment from them.

  11. There are comments here about the VA turning away new patients. You would think these would surely not be 100% service-connected disabled vets, but it includes them, and I can use myself as an example. The VA has developed elaborate systems to block veterans from health care, whether you are service-connected disabled or not. This includes setting veterans and even their family members up with false arrest, in elaborate ways, including at VA facilities and also in many other places. In the past year or so the VA has falsely arrested me, my wife, and my son. They arrested me on my way to surgery that was to be done at a VA hospital, but they tricked me and my wife to come into a local clinic where I was arrested after VA police attacked us there. They arrested my wife and my son elsewhere, and it cost us thousands of dollars in legal fees. We eventually got letters of apology from VA Police Services, but only because our Congressman came down on the VA for this bizarre krap they keep pulling on us. The VA is worse than the Mafia, worse than any organized crime syndicate, and they make ISIS and Al Queida look like veteran and American lovers. The VA will never improve or come close to serving vets the way they are supposed to, not until they are confronted by a well-organized, legal apparatus that includes hundreds if not thousands of arrests, quick trials, and prison sentences for those doing this to us vets. There is a crazily aggressive sheriff in Arizona, called “Sheriff Joe”, who is famous for hyper-aggressively going after criminals. We need about 1,000 ‘Sheriff Joes’ to start doing mass arrests at the VA. The VA is flat out conspiring to kill us off, and this is the only way anything will ever change. VA leadership and staff all the way down to the bottom ranks laugh at us. If you tell the VA they cannot run over you and your family they come down on you like hell, like they have done to me and my family. Stop complaining like a bunch of little girls who are afraid to do nothing but whine and cry. Stand up to these assholes! Grow a pair! They do NOT respect weakness, they love silence, but they have to improve if you tell them they are full of shit, even in those exact words. If all vets stood up to these worthless shit-heads like I have done, along with my wife and son, things would change for the better. The truth is, most of my fellow vets have been conditioned to become cowards, living in fear of telling these fuckers to fuck the hell off. STOP BITCHING HERE, WHERE YOUR COMPLAINTS DON’T AMOUNT TO AN OUNCE OF SHIT. COMPLAIN AT THE VA, TO THEIR FACE!

    • A-FUCKIN-MEN. I tell them, everytime I get a chance, where they are heading. I also do not like the VA Employees insulting my wife. She stands up to them constantly.

      This just in on Channel 9 at 4pm est “A vet was just shot by police. He was suffering from PTSD. He pointed a gun at police. So they shot him.” It was on WFTV here in Orlando, Florida. That’s all I have for now.

  12. 07/13/2015

    Dear Bruce Wallace and Benjamin Krause,

    Bruce Wallace says July 13, 2015 at 1:27 pm go after the VA.

    I say bypass the criminals and go for the Congress/Senate and the White House.

    VA will change if you camp out in front of the Senate Building.

    Sincerely,

    Don Karg

    • I am sure Homeland Security will be more than ready with teargas, pepper spray, riot gear, and many Veterans potentially getting needlessly arrested. Not that this should stop such an ‘event’, but Veterans would pay a huge price for such a protest if it could be logistically planned…then there’s the sheer fact that *most* Vets do not really have the expendable and disposable income to even perform such a task…we remain divided as a ‘group’ by this inherent ‘design’ unfortunately.
      Just read recently that the VA closed a major Clinic in the D.C. Area and are expecting Vets to simply TRY to be seen elsewhere, and that elsewhere is 16 miles away and that ‘elsewhere’ is already at full capacity…all by design. Cripple and maim those that could expose the truth.

      • Too bad the major Veteran Groups such as DAV and the like do not put their massive amounts of $$$ collected by both membership dues and money directly from the VA to such organized events. I really do not think those Veteran Advocacy Groups such as those really have we veteran’s back, if they did and genuinely cared, we perhaps would not be in this mess we find ourselves in currently.
        I would go as far as saying if such an organized march on D.C. by Veterans were to take place, we would be hard-pressed to find ANY of those groups supporting us…they are too tightly suckling the VA “Sow” or $$$$.

        We indeed need something akin to the “Occupy Wall Street Movement”, but they really were not able to get anything done and the crooks got off scott free.

      • The problem here is that we seem to only kick around that goal – camp out in DC…. since that apparently worked so well in 1933. But the times are different with the advent of TV, computers and the Internet.

        Veterans need to independently organize using social media and web tools as well as their email to move behind a unifying message in an active manner. Traditional veteran organizational leadership uses a “trust us, we will fix it” hands-off approach to organizing. This failed model is little more than lobbying on our behalf while we protest from our barstools at the local Legion or VFW.

        But that dependence model does not work (and it can be reversed quite easily with today’s tools) as evidenced by this Administration’s total lack of respect for the law and for blatant acts of fraud that go unpunished at the highest levels of the Federal government, including VA.

        Why not develop a content marketing plan that will garner enough momentum to embarrass high level leaders into following the law or stepping down? Shame them into legal and functional members of society…?

      • can anyone supply the names and email addresses for reporters for radio, TV, and news papers arund the country….come great things and ideas are said on Ben’s pages here….send them on to reports and hope the see the merit of posting it or talking about it on radio or TV etc

  13. Well, it’s better than nothing. I was a little worried all eyes were off the VA. I’ll take the White House’s word over Congress or McDonald’s any day (the elitist One Percenters’ Representatives) !

    As slim as it is, there is still more hope than before. Thanks Mr. President.

    • Why are you thanking Obama? As of today, it has been 2,364 days and he hasn’t appointed a VAOIG. Your so-called 1% have nothing to do with that. In fact, nothing you said makes much sense.

      • I take serious issue with FACT Pres. Obama has *repeatedly* stated, “I have full FAITH that the VA and the VAOIG will do the ‘right thing’ for veterans”!
        HOW can ANY Veteran have FAITH in the President and Administration that APPLAUDS the very CROOKS in charge of the asylum?

  14. “When Honl asked the President to select someone from outside VA, the President stated such a selection would violate current law.”

    How very convenient coming from a man with such little respect for the rule of law. Whatever happened to your “pen and phone”? Selecting someone from within a corrupt organization to clean it up is like putting the lions in charge of the sheep. The VA cannot be trusted to police itself, and a VA appointee will do nothing more than maintain the status quo.

    • A very LOUD…AMEN! This is yet again a perfect case-in-point of why most of us would agree that another qualifier to be President SHOULD be that they HAVE SERVED in Military…then and only perhaps then would we have someone that remotely understands the plights of veterans.

  15. Media Contact: https://www.capwiz.com/military/dbq/media/

    I would have this on my website if I could afford the service. However, these things cost money and many readers are more happy paying for products from Military.com (owned by Monster) and other mega-for-profit companies rather than buying guides, etc., from us little guys in the media. For now, the above link is all we have. Select the state you live in. It will give you a listing of all media outlets.

    • good link. i see some of the usual media outlets for areas i put in search field. investigative journalist(s) have written articles about the VAs mis-deeds that i read in some of those outlets listed. and one journalist even named one of the RO officers that would never return calls or mails from requests and the absurd claims delays. well that officer simply got moved to a new VA position as calls for that person to be fired obviously didn’t do any good. either from members of Congress or the journalists.

      the VA is teflon, don’t ya know, you can’t touch this.

      that is just one instance of thousands and so it continues to go on and on. i see today, SloanDoans asks for mo money. MillerTheThrilla berates the VA management for mis-management…BUT, & NOW HEAR THIS…he [will work] to see the VA gets the flexibility asked for, as he says.

      see what we are up against? it would be laughable if not for it to be so bizarro! let’s hope the media outlets can round up enough concern. i don’t see any prez candidates bringing the serious VA issues up, except for one. and btw, did that Bernie guy hold anyone accountable at VA for any mis-deeds? he wanted to give em mo money though, sure thang partna. just asking.

  16. Sir:
    You Stated the President said, ‘ to appoint someone would violate the current law,” first one has to research whether the current law is Constitutional if it isn’t then there is no law as it states in; see:Constitutional Law,16th American Jur. 2nd. Copyright 1998 Ed.
    Total Unconstitutionality (203-206) with which I will follow in more detail.

  17. Frank P. Calderon
    Sir:
    203 Generally

    The general rule is that an unconstitutional law, is in reality no law, but is wholly null and void, and ineffective for any purpose. Since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it, an unconstitutional law, in legal contemplation, is as inoperative as if it had never been passed and never existed, that is, it is void ab initio.

    Such a statute leaves the question that it purports to settle just as it would be had the statute not been enacted.

    16th Am.Jur. ed Constitutional Law continued

    Since an unconstitutional law is void, the general principles follow that it imposes no duties, confers no rights, creates no office or liabilities, bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no protection, is incapable of creating rights or obligations, does not allow for granting of any relief, and justifies no acts performed under it.

    Once a statute is determined to be unconstitutional, no private citizen or division of the state may take any further action pursuant to its provisions. A contract which rests on an unconstitutional statute creates no obligation to be impaired by subsequent legislation.

    No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it. Once a statute has been declared unconstitutional, courts thereafter have no jurisdiction over alleged violations, etc…

  18. Tonight, (11 pm est) on WKMG Channel 6, Orlando, Florida, there will be a lengthy news article concerning MANY aspects of what has been dicussed on this, and many other, website! It MAY even be broadcasted nationally by CBS.
    I believe, because of the amount of ‘pressure’ being brought by many veterans, taxpayers, veterans groups, corporations, wealthy individuals and so on, this news station is not allowing any government entity to cause a CENCORSHIP, concerning this issue! I believe, many of the previously mentioned entities have had enough of their tax monies being spent illegally.
    As I’ve said, all movements start slow. Then build to a crescendo of such a magnitude where all in power must listen and act appropriately. ie; start doing what is/was expected of them. Fire incompetents, Charge, Try and Sentence individuals who commit illegal act. Etc., Etc., Etc..
    Another example of the way things occur slowly is Our own First Revolutionary War (1776). Think back, how long did it take our Continental Congress to “Declare War against Great Britain”? It took years. And, if you remember, it was the first and only time in American History where the “vote” HAD TO BE UNANIMOUS! All the colonies had to say “YEA” to war….
    In essence, this is what we here are doing. We are discussing, sometimes arguing over, what needs to be done with this “disfunctional government entity”. We must, as also all the other veteran websites, decide how to proceed.
    The difference today, from 200+ years ago, is “HOW DO WE PROCEED?”
    I believe this newscast tonight may very well be our “COMMON SENSE PAMPHLET” that will light a fire under the “Status Quo”! At least thats my hopes.

    Btw, it’s being broadcasted through an affiliate of CBS. Question, who is running for President which also talks openly about illegal immigration,
    veterans not being treated right,
    our tax structure that is lopsided for the rich,
    don’t reduce our military, He wants to FIRE Obama and all the ingrats in Washington,
    And a lot more. His name——- Donal Trump.
    Whether you like him or not he does make a lot of sense……

    • I personally think it sucks. The VA rarely follows it. Most attorneys say hardly anyone is held or bound legally to it. If they were, it’s no more than a slap on the wrist.
      That’s what I think about thr Hippa law….

      • It was a fubar that happened to my wife. She received documents from a dentists office and our insurance company that was not her. They said it was her. Even though the names were similar, it wasn’t my wife. The dentist office used that info, which was a violation of Hippa, to calculate my wife’s bill. I ended up having to pay over $1000 OVER what we should have.
        We tried talking to MANY attorneys over these issues. Everyone of them said the same thing. IF there is a Hippa Violation, which the attorneys admited there was, the dentist office and the insurance co. wouldn’t even get a slap on the wrist.
        The VA has committed Hippa against me by saying; if (I) don’t allow students in the examination room, [the doctor] won’t see me. I was also told, the doctors DON’T have to let my wife be with me during examinations. That is B/S. I have the only say so on who is, or isn’t, allowed during any examination….
        Yes I belong to the DAV. Only I have nothing good to say about that organization. Go to DAV REFORM…You will understand more about that so called veterans group.

      • When it comes to HIPPA there are many carve outs the VA uses allowing them to disclose and/or use your health and personal information. Included is:

        Improving quality of care or services Conducting Veteran and beneficiary satisfaction
        surveys. Reviewing competence or qualifications of health care professionals. Providing information about treatment alternatives or other health issues. Conducting health care training programs. Managing, budgeting and planning activities and reports. Improving health care processes, reducing health care costs and assessing
        organizational performance

        Developing, maintaining and supporting computer systems Conducting accreditation
        activities. Certifying, licensing, or credentialing of health care professionals

        Conducting audits and compliance programs, including fraud, waste and abuse
        investigations.

        There are many provisions in VA Handbook 1605.1 (The privacy manual) which outline the ways your information may be disseminated without your knowledge or permission. One of the most disturbing is:

        VHA may disclose individually-identifiable information in response to a request
        received from a law enforcement agency (e.g., Federal Bureau of Investigation, local Police Department) when such a request is for information needed in the pursuit of a focused (individual specific and/or incident specific) activity such as a civil or criminal law enforcement investigation authorized by law.

        Yes, big brother can cook up anything to get your personal information.

  19. @ben: “Why not develop a content marketing plan that will garner enough momentum to embarrass high level leaders into following the law or stepping down? Shame them into legal and functional members of society…?”

    yeah, that is one GREAT idea!

    force the presidential candidates to bring up the VA/veteran issue(s) too.

    @namnibor: a Veteran Occupy Movement i think a good idea too. i think it would be difficult for main media outlets to talk down about veterans in general as they did with the OWSM.
    maybe a “digital movement” a digital tidal wave across the Internet. i think that spark has already been lit.

  20. Y’all need to go to the WKMG Channel 6 news station website. The article was about Camp Lagunes (sic) water. And the illnesses that have plagued veterans for decades. Plus, the physicians expertise, or lack of.
    If you can’t find it. Here’s their phone number. (407)291-6000. Call because the reporters said It’s on their web page now.

  21. VETERANS my belief is this that we as VETERANS spread the word who Put Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald into office keep bugging that person or people when us VETERANS disagree with our belief isn’t be heard. Remember the squeaky wheel gets the grease…..SEMPER FI

  22. Frank P. Calderon

    Kudos for Arnold Cabral, those are exactly my feelings, in addition to the sacrifice, struggle and privations we have made we haven’t stopped we still support our government with taxes that we still have to pay after we leave the service and those who are able to work do so with their taxes; and those who are disabled in one way or another and not able to work, still have payed a heavy price, and deserve some consideration, one tragic example is homelessness a humane treatment to accept for the sacrifice they payed?

    • Frank Calderon tell me who you called about how us Veterans been treated so i can too i believe it should wake someone up share experience, straight, and HOPE . PLEASE BECAUSE WHAT PRESIDENT KENNEDY SAID…….ASKED NOT WHAT THE COUNTRY CAN DO FOR US ASKED US WHAT WE CAN DO FOR OUR COUNTRY PLUS OTHERS TELL ME WHO THEY CALLED……..SEMPER FI

    • Prior to this new guy, the IG did not feel my May complaint was valid i\enough to investigate.
      I got 6 months of accrued benefits on a 1151 issue in 2012.
      The Chief (Quality Review Team -Compensation) at VACO said I got 22 months of accrued per the PC screen he was reading.

      (100% plus SMC plus 2 dependents)

      I contacted the IG to find out who got those 16 additional months of accrued I did not get.

      I wonder if the IG will pay any attention to my complaint I just sent to their hotline.

      The director of my VARO, in email, said the date of my NOD (January 6,2013, )
      has been established as April 2015.

      i believe the date was manipulated due to their target date of their NODs.

      I also cced in all people I named in my writ on my IG email but now might have to re do that before I mail it to the court.

      I was given a ludicrous reason for the lack of the accrued they still owe me (by phone from the director)
      My evidence they refuse to read completely combats the reason she gave me, not in the decision.

      Apparently they did use my evidence for someone else, and that is the person they sent 16 months of this 5 figure award to.

  23. It is time to start lobbying our current President. Waiting for a new Republican savior will not help. If we can get some kind of acknowledgement of the gravity of the situation with The VA, we might have a chance at real improvement. WE MUST START NOW. We have all stepped out on a limb here with this and other websites and we have to follow through. Otherwise, the wait times will only be getting longer and veterans will continue to due to treatable conditions that are not available at The VA for a multitude of reasons. I am begging everyone to put your politics aside and start working on this now.

Comments are closed.